I was looking out the window yesterday at about 7:00 pm and thinking, "I don't want to go to class. It's cold and dark outside, and it's raining, and I have way too much to do." It was one of those days where the phone wouldn't stop ringing, and every time it rang I flinched, and every time I answered it, the person on the other end yammered on, refusing to get to the point. For every e-mail I answered, another one arrived. The workers in my building decided it would be a great amusement for them to test the fire alarm all morning while I had a piece on deadline that afternoon. I was beside myself with fatigue and crabbiness and the sense that the entire world was conspiring to waste my time. I went to class only out of a sense of grim obligation: You can't exactly be telling the world how terrific the martial arts are and then not go to class because it's raining, can you?
But I was so glad I went. So, so glad. It was wonderful. It was so great that I stuck around for the class afterwards, too -- I didn't want to go home. I stopped thinking about everything I had to do. I stopped thinking about anything, in fact, but trying to get my limbs to do what they were told -- trying to keep my feet the right distance apart, trying to keep my weight on the right foot, trying to keep the energy going forward with the left jab and turn exactly the right amount with the right jab, how to create an even louder and more satisfying thwack when I kicked the focus pad. I think -- I say this hesitantly -- that I may have figured out what's been going wrong with that left jab, by the way, why it always feels so pathetically weak. (It's not that my left arm is so much weaker than my right one, so I've been baffled by this for quite some time.) For three hours, I wasn't thinking about any deadline I have to meet, any bill I have to pay, anything I need to pick up at the store before it closes, how to get rid of the latest pest ringing my doorbell, any phone call I have to return. At the end there was no stress or anger left, not a hint of displeasure with the world.